Using infrared data communications to create a unique conference experience
Helical Levity is a security research firm that tackles some of the most difficult problems in cyber security. Made up of world class designers, developers, and security researchers, they offer a unique level of insight into the challenges the industry is facing whilst continuing to push the boundaries of computer security research.
Helical Levity approached Cubik with an idea for a PCB delegate badge to use at an upcoming cyber security conference. The badge required the user to collect pieces of an encryption key that could only be gathered by communicating with other delegate badges. Users had to solve a variety of challenges relating to all areas of cyber security with a prize awarded to the first person to complete all the challenges.
The badge had to be fully interactive and able to communicate with other delegates via infrared data communications. The brief also specified that the badge should be hexagon shaped with sides no smaller than 60mm, have working LED lights and be small enough to clip to a neck-worn lanyard.
In addition, it was important that the user could interact with the badge from either a laptop or other device brought to the event. Finally, we had to ensure the battery would last the duration of the two-day conference.
The main challenge with this project was the short timeframe given the finite date of the event. To minimise timescales, we designed software that could be used to both test the board and on the final device. We developed a prototype using an Arduino which we quickly modified into a design for a low volume production run (350 units) which enabled us to meet the deadline.
The badges were a great success and added an interactive element that had not been seen at the event before. Practitioners from across the cyber defence and incident response disciplines were engaged with the challenge and enjoyed the hands-on activity the badge offered. After some serious competition, a Digital Forensics Investigator was the first to hack the badge tweeting: “Apparently there are talks at this event. Who knew?”.
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Adrian Schmieder of HiETA commented: “Cubik’s quick turn-around of a functioning PCB has sped the delivery of the project and enabled me to focus on areas of the project in which HiETA has expertise. The project is a great success and produced valuable information even from its first use. I am very impressed with the support Cubik provided me throughout the project, from initial concept through to PCB delivery. I will not hesitate to engage with them again as future PCB projects arise.”
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Geoff Jones, Aquabar Inventor: "It was a pleasure to work with Cubik on our project. Paul and Sam understood the concept at one meeting, and produced a solution filling the brief within two weeks which has enabled us to find a potential partner. We will certainly use Cubik for our production units later in the year, Many thanks."
Paul Davey, Associate Professor (SL) Plymouth University: "If you need a prototype developed to a high standard and on time you would be hard pushed to find someone better. They have highly trained, experienced engineers who get the job done."
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Damon Rand, Head Product Design: "Paul and the team have really helped us speed up the turnaround on our prototypes and assure the manufacturability of our designs. If you’re designing electronics in the South-West, then Cubik is a great choice for short-run manufacturing."